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Report: NBA Teams Would Have Shortened Travel Parties For A Bubble League

The 2019-20 NBA season remains on hiatus since the global COVID-19 pandemic reached its stratosphere in March, but the league and players have reportedly been working on a return to play. After team offices and buildings shuttered along with restaurants, gyms and barber shops across the country, the league announced that teams could open their practice facilities starting May 1 in cities and states where local governments have relaxed stay-at-home orders. Players have been able to choose for themselves if they feel comfortable participating, and the move, in compliance with social distancing guidelines, only allows for individual workouts.

Since then, the league has also reportedly discussed the possibility of a bubble league, with Orlando’s Walt Disney World the frontrunner to host such an operation. On Friday, Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that the NBA will only allow teams to bring around 35 people, including players, coaches and other staff, to a “campus” site in July, when the season is strongly expected to resume. As Stein noted, a normal game day would include more than 50 members from each team in attendance.

The WNBA, whose season was scheduled to begin on May 15, will likely mirror the NBA’s plans, although in a separate location. Earlier this month, The New York Times found that MGM Resorts International, which owns several properties in Las Vegas including the Mandalay Bay Events Center — home to the Las Vegas Aces and host of the 2019 WNBA All-Star Weekend — made its case as a possible bubble league host to several leagues, including the WNBA.

Major League Baseball was also reportedly considering having all 30 teams play in Arizona, where there are currently over 15,000 reported COVID-19 cases and at least 763 deaths. This past week, news also broke that the National Women’s Soccer League and Major League Soccer were also considering playing tournaments in Utah and Orlando, respectively.

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All The Best New R&B From This Week That You Need To Hear

Sometimes the best new R&B songs can be hard to find, but there are plenty of great rhythm and blues tunes to get into if you have the time to sift through the hundreds of newly released songs every week. So that R&B heads can focus on listening to what they really love in its true form, we’ll be offering a digest of the hottest R&B jams that fans of the genre should hear every Friday.

This week, Saint Jhn shares his tropical music video for “Ransom,” Justine Skye delivers her latest “No Options,” and Teyana Taylor dedicates “Made It” to the class of 2020. Check out the rest of the best new R&B songs below.

Saint Jhn — “Ransom”

Fresh off the success of Ghetto Lenny’s Love Songs and viral TikTok track “Roses,” Saint Jhn is keeping the momentum going with the visual for a new somber track titled, “Ransom.” The Grammy Award-nominated artist croons his thoughts about true love in one take while nested in the beauty of Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Justine Skye — “No Options”

Justine Skye‘s Bare With Me EP is coming and this week she offers a taste of it with “No Options.” When a relationship becomes toxic, sometimes it might be hard to leave and Justine touches on this relatable circumstance with the comfort of her voice.

Teyana Taylor — “Made It”

Teyana Taylor broke the internet with her choreography when she teased “Bare Wit Me,” and this week the song came in its entirety as well as the music video for the Class of 2020-dedicated cut “Made It.” The tracks are expected to live on her forthcoming project, The Album, the follow-up to 2018’s KTSE.

PJ — “Counterfeit”

As fans eagerly await for PJ‘s next project, Waiting For Paris, the talented singer-songwriter shares a piece of the upcoming EP with the music video for “Counterfeit.” Out of love and trust, PJ sings her raw and unadulterated thoughts over grand and cheery production.

Bino Rideaux — Outside

Bino Rideaux’s debut mixtape Outside is here. The South Central Los Angeles artist and close Nipsey Hussle collaborator previously released two tracks off the EP, “Brand New” featuring Blxst and “Bet,” ahead of the project’s release and this week he came through with the animated visual for “Cold Feet” featuring Ty Dolla Sign.

Rini — “Bedtime Story”

Burgeoning R&B singer Rini goes to another dimension with his love in an alternate reality, animated visual for his track “Bedtime Story,” which leans on technology advances like FaceTime as way to keep romance alive. It’s hard not to daydream about what it would be like to finally be able to freely go outside again.

Roy Woods — “2 Me”

Roy Woods Dem Times EP was just released last week and this week he delivers the music video for the track “2 Me.” The Dragan Andic-directed video conceptualizes the emotional storytelling Woods conveys on the project.

Derek King — “Stories” Feat. Eric Bellinger

Bay Area singer Derek King connects with Grammy Award-winning singer Eric Bellinger for his latest single “Stories.” Keeping true to social-distancing measures, Derek shares a music video that accurately depicts what it’s like to be in love during the quarantine. King’s forthcoming album Let’s Be Honest is slated for release May 29.

070 Shake — “Microdosing”

We all miss live shows, but in memory of an experience that is near and dear to many, 070 Shake shares a reminder of what a concert looks and feels like with her powerful “Microdosing” performance at Webster Hall in New York City. The track lives on her 2020 album Modus Vivendi.

Jhene Aiko — “B.S.” Feat. HER

Jhene Aiko‘s No. 1 album Chilombo continues to impress and this week she shares an animated visual for her song “B.S.” featuring HER. The pair recently performed an acoustic version of the song for charity and it is easily one of the stand-out cuts on the album.

Mario — “Closer”

R&B veteran Mario’s darkly, rouge animated visual for track “Closer” has arrived. With just a shadow of his silhouette and the curves of a leading lady, Mario gets his provocative and tempting point across by using his richly enchanting vocals to get the object of his affection to come closer.

Check out this week’s R&B picks, plus more on Uproxx’s Spotify playlist below.

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Report: The WNBA’s Plans For 2020 ‘Likely Include A Shortened Season’

More attention in the sports world is understandably being paid to leagues whose seasons were cut short, such as NASCAR, the NHL, or the NBA, but many never got off the ground. That is at the forefront of increasingly ugly negotiations between MLB and its owners, but it’s also forcing the WNBA to recognize it may not be able to play a full season.

In an extensive investigation on the latest plans for numerous major sports across the globe, ESPN reported that the current shape of the WNBA’s discussions about 2020 “would likely include a shortened season.”

The league has been working with its partners at the NBA to determine what single-site locations could work for them, including Las Vegas, where the WNBA already has a franchise in the Aces and hosted its 2019 All-Star game. At the same time, commissioner Cathy Engelbert admitted that though the league doesn’t have a firm drop-dead date, saying “It may be too late to play our full season at some point; we’re probably going to come up on that by early July.”

The WNBA does have a unique gap in its calendar when it would have taken a break in July for the Tokyo Olympics. However, the league also must be mindful of the players who travel to Europe and Asia in the winter to play professionally, where they often make the majority of their income.

To that end, the WNBA will likely condense its typically spread-out 34-game regular season and could further restrain its playoff schedule, which already includes single-elimination games in the first two rounds and just five games in the Finals.

Because it was supposed to tip off in mid-May, an optimistic July start (remember, the WNBA also never even began training camp) would cut two months off the regular calendar for a league that is already built around the NBA schedule and overseas competitions. In order to prepare for the worst, the WNBA is already assuming it won’t be able to pull off its full schedule.

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Ben Affleck Had A More Enthusiastic Response To The Snyder Cut News For Kevin Smith

As news spread of HBO Max and Zack Snyder joining forces to finally “Release the Snyder Cut” after a long and brutal social media campaign to make the director’s original version of Justice League a reality, one voice was notably absent from the fanfare: Batman himself, Ben Affleck. In fact, it took Affleck almost 24 hours before acknowledging the groundbreaking news on Twitter, and well, his reaction wasn’t exactly full of pep.

Easy there, Ben. Don’t get carried away.

It seems like Affleck was simply saving the good stuff, however, for his old pal Kevin Smith. The actor recorded a special Instagram video just for Smith’s Fatman Beyond podcast where he gave a shout out to all of the fans who aggressively lobbied to make Snyder’s original vision come to life. Via Collider:

“I’m very excited that Zack’s getting a chance to finally see his vision realized. I think it’s a great thing. I’m really excited for the fans to get to see it. And I want to say thank you to the fans because it was their enthusiasm and their passion that made it happen. Without fan support I don’t think it ever would have happened. I love Zack and I love his version of the movie and I look forward to everyone getting a chance to see it.”

You can watch Affleck’s message to fans below:

In Affleck’s defense, the Snyder Cut news has to be complicated for the former Batman. While promoting The Way Back earlier in the year, the actor spoke candidly about his decision to leave the iconic superhero role, and how the back-to-back productions for Batman V Superman and Justice League took a toll on his marriage and exacerbated his struggles with alcoholism. With the Snyder Cut requiring voiceover work from Affleck, and talk of a sequel already in the mix, it’s certainly understandable that he’d have a reserved reaction to this surprising development.

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An Expert Tells Us How To Start Making Edibles At Home This Weekend

There’s nothing quite like riding out the weekend sufficiently stoned off a weed brownie. Even if you’re a heavy smoker, the experience of being high off an edible can take you to near psychedelic places. Probably the closest any of us are going to get to any kind of journey this Memorial Day, right? Bummed about Burning Man going virtual this year? With a good edible, you’ll feel like you’ve dropped right into Black Rock City.

Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic. You’d need something a little stronger for that.

Nevertheless, edibles are rapidly increasing in popularity and are readily available in dispensaries (in weed legal states). But considering that everyone is suddenly a baker now, we thought it might be time to learn how to make edibles at home. To get you started, we reached out to WeedMaps‘ resident edible expert, Lesley Nickus, for info on the basics of entering the edible game. She gave us advice for how to calculate your dose so you don’t end up couch-locked, the easiest way to make edibles even if you have no baking skills, and how to make cannabutter/oil. As a bonus, Lesley provided us with edible brownie and lemon bar recipes so that you have no excuses not to try it this weekend.

Let’s dive in!

What’s an easy at home edible recipe to start with?

If you’ve never made edibles at home before, the first thing you want to master is how to make cannabutter. If you’re a vegetarian, you can also infuse cannabis into coconut oil — the one thing to remember when you’re making edibles is that the cannabinoids and terpenes bind to fat, so you want to use that fat as the carrier for the cannabinoids and terpenes that are in the cannabis plant and it’ll help you to take your brownies from a plain brownie to a brownie that could possibly take you places or simply relax your body.

You can use cannabutter or oil in any recipe that calls for butter or oil. So if you’re a novice baker and can’t find flour, you can use boxed brownies from the grocery store and just replace that quarter cup of oil or whatever the recipe calls for, as a one-to-one trade for cannabis-infused oil.

If you’ve never baked before, go to the grocery store, get that brownie mix and substitute it! If you enjoy baking, then you want to level it up. Find your grandma’s brownie recipe, get all those ingredients, and once again substitute the oil.

How can we infuse cannabis into other cooking, aside from baking?

There are a couple of other ways you can use cannabis in cooking preparations, and not all of them are to get you high. Some of the things I’ve seen are pulverizing the cannabis flowers into flour, and getting those aromatic terpenes. Weed has a very specific smell… you might have this beautiful aromatic bouquet, and you can infuse those aromas into the food by grinding the raw flower and using it as an enhancer.

Raw flower doesn’t make you high, It doesn’t have active THC in it, so it’s not going to give you an active head change, but if you really love the smell or flavor of cannabis you can use the raw flower in cooking preparations or as a garnish. You can press whole leaves into different types of flatbreads. Anything you want, if you’re creative.

What are good guidelines to follow when it comes to dosing?

Dosing control is extremely important and also pretty challenging because the actual cannabinoid concentration depends on the flower that you select. You want to pay really close attention to the lab analysis that comes with your purchase to figure out what the percentage of THC to CBD in the flower that you’ve chosen is prior to making your cannabutter or canna-oil.

One gram of cannabis flower is equal to 1,000 milligrams. If the cannabis flower you’re using tests at 15% THC, then using 1 gram will produce 150 milligrams of THC. With 3.5 grams of flower, it will make 525 milligrams of THC. To reduce the margin for error, Jeff the 420 Chef has a convenient calculator which helps determine dosage. [We’ve linked to it.]

What should a “good” edible taste like?

It should not taste like weed. A good edible will taste like what it should taste like if there was no cannabis in it. If you think about the old school way people used to make weed brownies, you could taste it, you’d know it was a weed brownie, it had a very distinct flavor of cannabis. Now that people are starting to experiment with things and are understanding terpene profiles, They are understanding flavor combinations.

With the best edibles, cookies taste like a cookie, a brownie tastes like a brownie. There is no lingering skunk flavor in the food. That makes it dangerous because you want to eat a lot of it if it tastes good. If you’re ever baking edibles for friends or family, you absolutely have to let them know there is weed in there!

How long does the high typically take, or is that dependent on a bunch of different factors

It is dependent on metabolism, body weight, and if you have recently eaten, if there is something in your stomach already. There are a lot of things, but it can take up to three hours to feel anything from an edible. I think that’s why people usually overdo it, they wait 30 minutes and think “oh I don’t really feel anything, let me take another piece of this brownie” and then suddenly four hours later they’re stuck to the couch with a bottle of water.

If you do take too much, drink a lot of water, possibly take a shower, you will have to just ride it out, it’ll be okay eventually.

Why do you think the popularity of edibles is increasing as of late?

I think there are a lot of people that are uncomfortable with the traditional methods of consumption. There are a lot of concerns about the quality of vape cartridges. Edibles are acceptable to a lot of different types of peoples. People who have ailments of the lungs are able to take edibles medicinally and it doesn’t cause the same types of negative effects as smoking or vaporizing would.

Edibles became really popular with Brownie Mary. She was in the cannabis buyer’s club, working with people who were terminally ill with HIV/AIDS, and I think the popularity has always been there but has always been a little bit underground because for the most part it has been people who are trying to use cannabis to combat nausea, and lack of appetite and things that terminally ill individuals tend to encounter. Now that it has entered the mainstream people are interested because I think in general people like food. Everyone loves food. But also its an interesting challenge for people who aren’t comfortable smoking not comfortable vaporizing. They can use this skill that they have an explore a whole other world of consumption.

Another factor I think is the stigma around consuming cannabis. For the most part, you can be presumably anywhere, eat an edible that looks like any other piece of food, and not have to worry about being judged for your consumption.

When shopping for edibles in a retail space, what are the dosing guidelines beginners should be aware of?

The main thing is to be very very careful about reading your labels. You want to know how much THC in particular is in the total package. Know how much a dose is. If you’ve never taken an edible before, take that recommended dose and cut it in half. We recommend starting with 2.5 milligrams, seeing how that makes you feel, waiting 24 hours, and then increasing the dose by another 2.5 milligrams. That’s a process called titration.

For somebody who is looking for the minimum viable dose, you’ll want to start very very slow and increase gradually.

What’s your favorite edible recipe to make at home and why?

Brownies, because they’re easy. I also really love chocolate. Another favorite for me is lemon bars. They’re my favorite summer/spring dessert. Here, let me send you the recipes. [She did, they’re below!]

How To Make Pot Brownies

Sometimes we just want a delicious, decadent, chewy, ooey-gooey brownies, warm from the oven. If you happen to have a favorite brownie recipe that calls for oil or butter, swapping the fat out with cannabutter or distillate, can help you make space cakes instead. Our preferred method for these chocolatey cannabis edibles uses cannabutter.

Ingredients for Brownies

  • 1 cup cannabutter
  • 2 cups cane sugar, coconut sugar, sugar in the raw, or sugar substitute
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil or fat substitute
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions for Brownies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an aluminum 8” x 8” baking pan. A glass dish or dark metal pan will work as well, but you will need to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and knock off about 3-5 minutes for baking time.
  2. Melt the fat and add to the large mixing bowl. Now add the vanilla and sugar. Beat with a stand mixer or hand mixer.
  3. Add in the egg and beat again.
  4. Add in all of the brownie dry ingredients and blend until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour and scrape the batter into an aluminum pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. After baking, remove from the oven and completely cool before frosting.

Directions for Frosting

  1. Add the room temperature butter and cocoa powder to a small bowl and beat with a mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar and milk in increments. Then, add the vanilla extract.
  3. Using a spatula to spoon out the frosting into the desired thickness. Cool in the fridge to get picture-perfect brownies or you can frost warm and eat immediately. Enjoy!

Celebrate spring or summer with cannabis-infused lemon bars

As the weather warms and the sun comes out, nothing satisfies a sweet tooth like a lemon bar. And bonus points if that lemon bar has weed in it. When it comes to infusing edibles, it’s important to remember that the compounds in cannabis bind to fat, so for this recipe, the infusion is in the crust – not the filling. Before you begin, read up on how to make cannabutter.

Ingredients for the crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cannabutter, softened at room temperature

Ingredients for the filling

  • 4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • Dash of salt
  • Powdered sugar and lemon zest for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. For the crust, whisk together all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar until incorporated
  3. Using a fork, slowly incorporate the cannabutter until a crumbly mixture forms
  4. Press the crumbly mixture into an 8 x 8 pan
  5. Bake for 30 minutes
  6. While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs, yolk, and sugar together and fully incorporate
  7. Add the flour and salt, then the lemon juice
  8. Set the filling aside to rest and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees
  9. Pour the filling on top of the warm crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling has set
  10. Remove from the oven and let them cool before dusting with powdered sugar and lemon zest (optional)
  11. Cut into squares before serving

Can’t find flour during social distancing? Not to worry! You can use a boxed lemon bar mix, such as King Arthur Flour Essential Goodness Lemon Bar Mix — just be sure the box calls for butter and swap out the butter for cannabutter at a 1-1 ratio.

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Year None: The Toronto Raptors

The 2019-2020 NBA season came to an abrupt halt on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the season effectively three-quarters of the way through, many storylines, records-to-be, and developing comebacks were left in the lurch; all the bizarre, beautiful, and too-absorbing minutiae of the league halted. This is a look back at the most compelling of those suspended narratives in an attempt to figure out what could have been while reconciling, maybe wrenchingly, that however the season concludes, this will be a year in basketball that never fully happened. Welcome to Year None.

The qualifications for a basketball team to receive the coveted “dynasty” label seem to start, at a minimum, of two titles and a handful of sequential runs at it, a lot of time comfortably spent in the postseason. No team with the distinction arrived to it the same way, but when they did the end result was the same, an overt dominance of the league.

At the core of these competitive, occasionally cold-blooded teams are a set of stars revolving around one larger body: a superstar. The inner workings of the team are slanted toward that monolithic figure — keeping them competitive, keeping them happy, keeping them. It has historically made for teams with loose ties to one another, where supporting players rotate in and out a little quicker at the behest of what’s best for the core, creating pockets of personal relationships within a team’s roster. Lost in this are through-lines of verbal and psychic communication, an overarching feeling of what the team is to one another, and ultimately a generosity that extends out from the anchor points, be them stars or veterans, that gives the team a recognizable shape from season to season. All those things are factors in team chemistry, and it’s what makes a group magic.

This is not to say teams that win titles are all lacking in chemistry, only that many will find themselves forfeit after years of streamlining, shearing themselves of personality, anything less optimized than performance-based, in order to propel ascendancy and ultimately achieve dynasty. But what about teams that opt for that added emotional weight, reluctant to be ruthless with their rosters and even favoring continuity as an advantage? There aren’t stats to hold against teams flush with chemistry when it comes to their wins and whether perpetuating rapport over ruthlessness results in banners to hoist to the rafters.

Well, there weren’t, but then the Toronto Raptors became NBA champions.

Getty Image

Toronto is a chemistry dynasty. The emotional effervescence of its present suspended season started as soon as former general manager Bryan Colangelo, the one who let Chris Bosh walk and sought star marketability in Rudy Gay, was ousted for Masai Ujiri. His big initial shakeups — ditching Andrea Bargnani, seeing the mismatch in Gay — turned into opportunity for the franchise’s last holdout of hope, DeMar DeRozan, and a reluctant Kyle Lowry. At the end of their first and lackluster season together, DeRozan approached Lowry, and asked him to commit to the team, something a few coaches had tried and what Lowry had, until then, not been inclined to do. It clicked for them, and while Toronto lost to the Nets in the first round of the playoffs the following year, it was the first time DeRozan set foot in the postseason and the first wrenching moment of many, many more Lowry would have there.

So they built. The roster was slow to shift, DeRozan and Lowry two complimentary counterweights at the center, but the chemistry ramped. As in traditional dynasties, Toronto optimized, but had to get creative in honing what it already had. Investing time and energy into its G League affiliate created a wider bridge for two-way development in rookies and undrafted prospects, players who from day one would uphold the cultural tenants of the team even as they — Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam — grew into its future leaders. Quick, bright flashes in loaners like Lou Williams and P.J. Tucker showed gaps the front office could work to fix while vaulting Toronto ahead each time a specialized player left for how they grew into that space. Gaining skill and personality, players thoughtfully brought in under Ujiri — and later, Bobby Webster — would also work as a window, a glimpse into where the team could go.

As with skill, chemistry can plateau, too much of the same repetition yielding no new result. Replacing Dwane Casey with Nick Nurse allowed an instant acceleration, fresh eyes that held the muscle memory of the franchise and a voice that was already trusted. Nurse was handed what on other teams could have been an atomic bomb of a trade, vaporizing five years of carefully crafted chemistry. DeRozan’s departure was the biggest rattle the Raptors of this era ever had, including all the years of “Lebronto,” but they got Kawhi Leonard, a title, and a new kind of leader in Lowry from it. The former left, ultimately another (albeit the greatest of them) loaner, but the latter two have been formulaic in the identity of the team this season and what it will be going forward.

The ring does things. It’s why dynasties last. Its gold light catches on everything, validating teams, inflating future salaries of its players whether they stay or go, attracting new talent. Like the glint of it, it adds an edge to what plays out on the court. Toronto this season could’ve been a lieu year, an in-between while management put new pieces around Siakam and its young core, reducing Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol. It’s what many seemed to expect. Not that the title was fluke, only that it was a perfect storm. With Leonard and the unheralded Danny Green gone, how would the Raptors, who had not seemingly gained anyone in the offseason, compete? The ring does things but so does chemistry, and the two together, along with Lowry’s one-year, good-faith contract extension and Siakam’s new four-year deal, were the tells the team let slip that this season was going to be all-in.

Getty Image

Toronto was on track to register a franchise-high in wins, until Lowry’s thumb, the one he guarded in an oven mitt all through the Finals, buckled and he needed surgery. Ibaka went down in the same November game as Lowry with a sprained ankle. OG Anunoby was next when a returning Leonard popped an elbow into his eye socket. Then Matt Thomas (broken finger), VanVleet (knee contusion), Powell (shoulder), Gasol (hamstring), Siakam (groin); it wasn’t even Christmas and the injuries all tallied together looked insurmountable.

But the team kept winning. Nurse put out a new Frankenstein’s monster of a lineup night after night, leaning on the foundational tenants of Raptors basketball: scrappy and weird gameplay, smothering defense, intrinsic trust that a dark horse would emerge in the clutch.

Take, for instance, Terence Davis. The undrafted wing who emerged from out of nowhere if you’d never paid attention to where Toronto has pulled some of its most dogged players from. Davis showed up fearless against guys twice his size and triple his salary, crashing boards, yanking the ball from their hands, mouths agape after him. His minutes ticked up along with his resolve. Off the court, Davis is sincere to the point of appearing bashful. His voice cracks often, like his heart is in his throat. He’s called Ibaka “a light in my life” and praised the leadership of Lowry and VanVleet, their encouragement to come to them always, with anything.

Once Nurse called him out publicly for not understanding how hard the team plays, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson began to fit like a glove. He made up for his lack of team fluency by heaving his body where it was best put to use: sliding screens, reaching rebounds that pop joints. Thomas, when he got healthy, showed up as a pocket shooter. Chris Boucher vaulted to the rim like a shadow shot out from his own intent, long and menacing, haunting the dreams of everyone he dunked on.

The rhythm kept up even as guys continued to fall. It seemed like the cruelest relay — when someone returned, another went out. Toronto never played with a full, healthy roster all season, not even in the middle of its 15-game win streak. Its defensive rating climbed from fifth last season to second in 2019-20. The Raptors ranked higher in steals, assists, and effective field goal percentage from their championship season, with multiple players sitting in the top-20 league-wide in each category. Improvisation remained the go-to play, and few teams had an answer for it, or for how relentless, how hungry, how cheerful the Raptors stayed throughout. The mood, from October on, was assured. There was a new kind of airiness in the way the team carried itself. Gone were the desperation minutes that could settle like a shroud, tough to shake.

Toronto was always good at edging out wins, but they were ugly, tired wins. The levity the team was showing now that they’d pocketed the chip on their shoulder and wore it around their fingers, was the result of a sustained walk through the fire. The playoffs, the Finals, it was a long road the team had never traveled before. Watching them in October, or when they came back from 30 points down against Dallas in December, or as injuries mounted in January, or as February’s cold clamped down to snap their win streak, this was a team that had hit its stride. The Raptors were no longer running to catch up, they were running for the satisfaction of seeing all the strange ways they could move, twist, romp around to easily win.

The loss of this season for Toronto is a grift for the league, for its weirdest and best bouts of history. To not know what would have happened if the whole roster, so many contracts just about up, got healthy. A team that was expected to slink away instead becoming the season’s most joyful menace, best exemplified by Lowry, planting his feet at All-Star and taking two successive charges (it would have been three, but the first one went uncalled, ostensibly because there is no way on Earth the official could fathom that someone would try to draw a charge in the All-Star Game). How instantly, deeply, under the skin of LeBron James and James Harden he dug, how Leonard, as best he could, laughed. Lowry, body planked across the high sheen of the Chicago court, grinning, arms raised, knowing he will be lifted.

He is, of course, the secret ingredient to Toronto’s chemistry. Lowry is still the most combustible element, but made dulcet as a leader, referring colloquially to teammates as “beloved” and roiling with the kind of satisfaction that getting what you’ve worked every inch of your body for, for years, will bring.

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A Kanye West Collaborator May Have Revealed The Title Of His Next Album

Kanye West has proven in recent years that he’s capable of extreme productivity. Last year, he put out an album and a Sunday Service album. The year before that, he had that famous run of albums that he worked on in Wyoming and performed on and/or produced. Now it looks like he’s ready to get back at it in 2020, as one of his collaborators may have let it slip that something new from the rapper is coming soon.

In an interview with French fashion multi-hyphenate Michèle Lamy, cinematographer Arthur Jafa revealed he was working on a new Kanye video. When asked if the clip was related to Sunday Service, Jafa answered, “No, it’s from his new record. It’s called God’s Country, and this will be like the first single, I guess, off it, so… I don’t know if I’m supposed to not be announcing that or whatever [laughs]. I may just be spilling the beans. It’s from a new record that’s forthcoming. I don’t know when the album is coming out, but with the single, I think maybe sometime next week. Maybe, it’s not sure, it’s not definite.”

It’s not entirely clear if “God’s Country” is the name of an album or a song (or both), but either way, it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on Kanye’s social media pages and see what happens in the coming days.

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Frotcast 437: 90-Day Quarantine Fiancée, With Joe Sinclitico


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This week, the FilmDrunk Frotcast returns for another exciting Quarantine Era Zoom-cast, featuring comedian Joe Sinclitico (Adam Devine’s House Party, catering). Joe has some thoughts on 90 Day Fiancee, leading into a brand new Vince Segment, Vince’s Media Complaint Corner. This week I’m complaining about the new Netflix movie The Lovebirds, and the action-comedy concept in general. After that I get to Run, and how British writers can’t write American cops. Then I’m onto the Winds of Change podcast. After that, Matt regales us with stories from the recent “City Roast” he participated in, in which he represented San Francisco. Which brings us to Matt Lieb’s brand new character, “Roast Matt.” I have to say, Roast Matt is really mean. You probably wouldn’t want Roast Matt to meet your mother or girlfriend. Finally, Matt brings back the Royalty Freestyle. We have fun, we really do.

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AT&T Gave Fans Hope That An ‘Ayer Cut’ Of ‘Suicide Squad’ Could Happen

Within minutes of Zack Snyder dropping the bombshell announcement that HBO Max will “Release The Snyder Cut” of Justice League next year, Suicide Squad fans immediately fired up the “Release The Ayer Cut” hashtag, and they’re already seeing some surprising results.

While quote-tweeting director David Ayer‘s hope that the streaming service will also allow him to deliver his original cut of the villainous team-up film, one Twitter user got an unexpected reply from AT&T, which is notable considering the telecommunication company owns Warner Bros., HBO Max, and DC Comics. So if there’s anyone could easily make the Ayer Cut happen, it’s the massive conglomerate.

One tweet might just be some friendly fan service, but the HBO parent company dipped back for more and certainly seems to have no qualms fanning the flames of #ReleaseTheAyerCut.

Like most creatives trapped at home during the pandemic, Ayer has been a prominent figure on Twitter lately, and he’s been very open with fans about his original plans for Suicide Squad and how the final product deviated significantly from his vision. He’s particularly unhappy with how little of Jared Leto’s Joker appeared in the film, and the director claims to have hours of footage that is just collecting dust. Whether Leto’s role was diminished because of his, uh, unusual method acting stunts that reportedly included mailing his co-stars used condoms — which he later denied — is still unknown. But Ayer isn’t shy about pointing the finger at the studio for the way it handled Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Via CBR:

Along with this footage, Ayer has also mentioned that the film’s scattered narrative would have belonged much more to Harley Quinn in his cut. On a lamentful Instagram reflection about his time working on Suicide Squad, Ayer writes, “In many ways, it was her movie, her escaping her relationship with Joker was the major emotional through line.” Later on Twitter, Ayer claims her story arc was “eviscerated” and that it “was her movie in many ways.”

While an Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad seeing the light of day might’ve seemed like a pipe dream not even 48 hours ago, “Release the Snyder Cut” has undoubtedly turned the tide, and with someone at AT&T clearly leaning into the possibility, it couldn’t be a better time to be a fan of the DC Extended Universe films.

(Via AT&T)

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All The Best New Rap Music To Have On Your Radar

Hip-hop is moving as fast as ever. Luckily, we’re doing the work to put the best new rap music in one place for you. This week, there were visuals from Dreamville and Yung Baby Tate, Polo G (twice), Lil Uzi Vert and Future, Deante Hitchcock and Young Nudy, Reason and Schoolboy Q, Gunna, Lil Durk, and Kyle. There were also new songs from El-P, and Russ. Here’s the rest of the best new rap music:

Snoop Dogg — “I Wanna Go Outside”

As he’s done countless times before, Snoop Dogg’s with one of the best new rap songs of the week with the anthem “I Wanna Go Outside.” He commandeers a funky, whimsical composition to autotune croon about the rigors of quarantine, pleading, “you can’t tell me this is how we ‘sposed to be livin.’”

Fetty Wap — “Pretty Thang”

On his latest release, Fetty Wap decided to offer a sultry ode to the ladies called “Pretty Thang.” His elongated harmonies are intact on the single, which is the latest in a slew of 2020 releases.

21 Lil Harold — “Turnt” Feat. Young Nudy

Young Nudy is talking greasy along with 21 Lil Harold, a member of 21 Savage’s Slaughter Gang Crew. Their menacing collaboration is the closer for Harold’s Keep It 21 EP.

Styles P — Styles David: Ghost Your Enthusiasm

Not many artists are lucky enough to get 13 albums deep in the rap game. Styles P is one of them, and he sounds ready to go for as many more as he wants on Styles David: Ghost Your Enthusiasm, his latest project. The 15-track lyrical exhibition shows him linking up with Lox brethren Jadakiss and Sheek Louch on two different tracks, but he’s just fine on his own, providing the gritty head-nodders and OG wisdom that’s made him a model for what so-called “grown man rap” looks like.

Casanova — “Stress”

Brooklyn’s Casanova is one of the game’s most jovial personalities, but it’s not all good in his world. He made that clear on “Stress,” a piano-driven confessional where he culls through his internal discontent, including the untimely death of Pop Smoke.

Key Glock — Son Of A Gun

Just four months after his Yellow Tape project, Memphis’ Key Glock is back with Son Of A Gun. The Paper Route Empire artist’s 14-track release is another charismatic effort sure to inspire young hustlers of all kinds — and serve as a thumping soundtrack to whatever semblance of Memorial Day celebrations take place this weekend.

Kota The Friend — Anything

Last month, Kota The Friend told us that a prevailing for his latest album is, “what means everything to you?” Listeners can ponder their own answer to that question while Anything’s thought-provoking lyricism and feel-good soundscape serve as a much needed sonic tonic for this time.

Young MA — Red Flu

The pandemic is affecting different artists different ways. Some people, but not Young MA. This week she affirmed on Twitter that, “we bouta f*ck the summer up! 😈 this pandemic ain’t do nothin but turn my savage up.” That savage energy is all over Red Flu EP, the Brooklyn rhymer’s latest project. The 7-track project, with songs like the aspirational “2020 Vision” and catchy “Quarantine Party” indicates that nothing is getting in the way of MA’s artistic vision.

Joell Ortiz & Kxng Crooked — “Memorial Day”

Memorial Day is lauded as the unofficial start of summer, but it’s actually a day to honor the legacy of people lost in war. Joell Ortiz and Kxng Crooked’s latest track, from their upcoming H.A.R.D. album, uses the occasion to pay homage to several of their lost loved ones.

Cambatta — “nXggXr ChrXst”

Cambatta is “stuck in this 21st century war” on “nXggXr ChrXst,” a pensive, lyrically dense single from his upcoming LSD album that will be released on July 21st.

Medhane — “I’m Deadass”

The Brooklyn rapper commandeers producer iblss’ sleepy jazz sample on “I’m Deadass,” the first single from his upcoming Cold Water album.

Mulatto — “He Say She Say”

Mulatto gets flossy on “He Say She Say,” where she bigs herself up and offers the not so humble flex that, “I don’t even know nothin’ bout no basketball, but on the ‘Gram flexed up wit’ a floor seat.”

Jackboy — “Spittin Facts”

Earlier this week, Jackboy commemorated Haitian Flag Day by dropping “Spittin Facts,” a melancholy reflection on friends lost, his incarcerated Sniper Gang boss Kodak Black, and the sad reality that “n****s be on your team / but hoping that you fumble.”

Tafia — “Just Sayin” Feat. Derrick Milano

Last July, Meek Mill let it be known that he was looking for artists for Dream Chasers Records. One of those acquisitions was Miami rapper Tafia, who dropped off the colorful video for his “Just Sayin” track featuring Derrick Milano. “I can’t f*ck with you, you a goofball” the Dreamchaser signee contends on the quaking single from his Street Fanci 3 project.

Mike — “nothin2say (Never Forget)”

In July, Mike is dropping his Weight Of The World project on his 10K projects label. He offered up a cathartic taste of what to come on “nothin2say,” in which he rips through a stream of consciousness over a warm loop.

Brady Watt — “Push On Thru” Feat. Rass Kass & Maverick Sabre

Many people have been listening to inspirational music during this period of quarantining and social distancing, looking to drift away from the current circumstance. It’s this very time that inspired Brady Watt, Rass Kass, and Maverick Sabre to create the inspirational, intercontinental “Push On Thru” single. They paired the track with a that Watt says via email “was shot during the quarantine in Ireland, New York, and LA (all using social distancing practices of course).”

Rockie Fresh — “VS Ideas”

Chicago’s Rockie Fresh dropped a social distancing-friendly video for his “VS Ideas” single, a smooth track that will be on his Destination Deluxe project next week. The album is a deluxe version of his 2019 Rostrum Records debut.

Rick Hyde — “The Respected Sopranos Freestyle”

Griselda is mostly known for the three-headed monster of Westside Gunn, Benny The Butcher, and Conway, but the crew is deeper than that. Rapper/producer Rick Hyde is primed to make his name known, and the kind of bars he delivered on his 31st-birthday-commemorating “The Respected Sopranos Freestyle” will take him there.

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.